On Oct. 1, 2016, our four-county dental Medicaid pilot got underway in Brown, Polk, Marathon and Racine counties. This means that all dentists seeing MA patients in these counties are receiving enhanced reimbursement rates for pediatric and adult emergency procedures.
Dental Medicaid Pilot Program
Prior to the launch, WDA held an educational meeting in each of the four counties. We were overwhelmed by the positive response, with more than 100 dentists and dental team members attending to learn more about the pilot program.
Wisconsin dentists understand, and are trying to help solve, the lack of access to dental care for many low-income families in Wisconsin. The pilot program is an opportunity for dentists to prove what WDA has been saying for years: Dentists do not have a problem seeing Medicaid patients, but poor reimbursement rates have made it impractical for many dentists to see a significant number of MA patients in their practices. Adequate rates will allow for more patients to get the care they want and need.
Members of MUSOD class of 2020 at their White Coat Ceremony.
Much of the news surrounding health care, particularly in Wisconsin, has to do with an impending shortage of workers in many critical professions, including physicians, nurses and personal care workers. In many states, that crisis also extends to dentists. Thankfully, in Wisconsin, we have an adequate supply of dentists to meet the needs of our population and current workforce projections show an overall increase in the number of dentists in coming years.
Marquette University School of Dentistry, Wisconsin’s sole dental school, has four full classes of 100 students each; 50 students in every class are Wisconsin residents.
As addressed above, there are still people in Wisconsin facing barriers to dental care. While the number of dentists is not the problem, dentistry is facing an issue that many others in the health care industry are also facing -- a shortage of providers in rural areas. We continue to work with MUSOD and partners across the state to develop more ways to encourage new dentists to consider practicing in rural Wisconsin.
State Rep. Steffen, State Sen. Roth recognized as oral health friends
State Rep. Dave Steffen (R-Howard) and State Senate President Roger Roth (R-Appleton) each received a WDA Award of Honor at our annual Pyramid of Pride Awards dinner in November.
Both lawmakers have built positive working relationships with WDA and demonstrated a willingness to listen to their constituent dentists on the topics of oral health and small business issues alike.
Thank you and congratulations, Rep. Steffen and Sen. Roth!
2016-17 WDA Leadership:
Dr. Ned Murphy, a general dentist and Racine resident, was sworn in as president of the 3,000-member Wisconsin Dental Association at the organization’s 146th House of Delegates on Nov. 5 at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells.
Dr. Ned Murphy elected president
Other 2016-17 WDA officers include:
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- President-Elect Dr. Dave Clemens, Wisconsin Dells
- Vice President Dr. Patrick Tepe, Verona
- Immediate Past-President Dr. Ryan Braden, Lake Geneva
- Treasurer Dr. John R. Moser, Milwaukee
- Editor Dr. Robert Darling, Sheboygan
- Speaker of the WDA House of Delegates Dr. Monica Hebl, Milwaukee